On ABC's recently premiered In Case of Emergency (Wednesdays at 9:30 pm/ET), David Arquette stars as Jason, a corporate whiz freshly felled by scandal, and now leaning on a group of similarly shamed high-school classmates (played by Greg Germann, Jonathan Silverman and Kelly Hu). TVGuide.com spoke with Arquette about his and wife/Dirt-headliner Courteney Cox's new bids at small-screen success.
TVGuide.com: For a guy who was about to kill himself, In Case of Emergency's Jason has this fun swagger, especially when flirting with Lori Loughlin's character.
David Arquette: Yeah! Up until this time in Jason's life, it's all come pretty easily, but now he's facing an Enron type of scandal.... He still has that swagger, but life starts becoming a little more difficult for him.
TVGuide.com: Maybe he figures, "I've got nothing to lose at this bleak point, so I may as well go for it with the engaged lady doctor."
Arquette: Exactly. There is that element of him, like, refiguring out his life, as are the rest of the characters, which is fun. This guy has been successful and rich, and now he finds himself as a volunteer nurse. Eventually, he also loses his apartment and his car and has to start over again.
TVGuide.com: Since a lot of people may associate you with the Scream trilogy's Dewey, are you glad to bring them this slightly less inept would-be Romeo?
Arquette: [Laughs] Yeah. I loved playing Dewey — that was a fun character, and the fact that I got to meet my wife [on the Scream set] was a huge bonus. But yeah, [on Emergency] I get to do a lot of slapstick, a lot of over-the-top, crazy physical comedy, which I love. From Lucille Ball to [Three's Company's] Jack Tripper, it's always fun to see that kind of stuff.
TVGuide.com: There's a nice familiar chemistry among the men on the cast. Have you worked with any of them before?
Arquette: I haven't, no, but we clicked immediately. I find them both to be really hilarious people, so I had a blast working with them.
TVGuide.com: Are you still in touch with anybody from your own high school?
Arquette: I went to high school with a lot of my good buddies, so yeah, I see them often. It's cool, because they keep you down-to-earth, you can't get away with a lot....
TVGuide.com: Right, if you try to pull any "Hollywood hotshot" stuff, they'll call you on it.
Arquette: No, that doesn't fly at all.
TVGuide.com: You and Courteney also have Dirt on the air right now....
Arquette: Right, that's on FX Tuesday nights, and we're really excited about it. What goes on with her character and the show in general in the weeks to come is really compelling and scandalous, crazy stuff. I'm excited to see how people feel about that, especially what sort of buzz it gets on the Internet.
TVGuide.com: Any side bets regarding whose acting vehicle does better?
Arquette: [Laughs] No, no, not at all.... One thing you can't be, as far as internally with your family and friends, is competitive. There's so much competition in this business anyway, you [have to] root for each other doing well.
TVGuide.com: Feature-wise, do you have anything coming up?
Arquette: The Tripper, which I directed and wrote and all my friends are in, is going to be in theaters April 20. At least that's a date I'm pushing for, 4/20 [aka National Pot Smokers Day], because the film takes place in a sort of [Grateful] Dead show-like concert, and there are a lot of drug elements to it.
TVGuide.com: Which past project of yours got the shortest shrift?
Arquette: Well, there's one movie called Dream with the Fishes that was close to my heart, and based on a true story. It was a great independent film, and a wonderful guy named Finn Taylor directed it. And I got to work with a kid named Brad Hunt, who became one of my close friends. Also, The Grey Zone....
TVGuide.com: That was Tim Blake Nelson's, right?
Arquette: Yeah, he directed and wrote it. It's this really dark look at the Holocaust, where some Jews were considered Sondercommandos — they kind of fooled other Jews into the gas chambers, essentially, in exchange for living a few more months. They ended up staging a revolt that saved some people.
TVGuide.com: As an actor, do you have a preference between drama and comedy?
Arquette: It's always really fun to do comedy, because hopefully, if the people you're working with are cool, you get to laugh and cut up. That's really my favorite part of the business, when a bunch of fun people have a good time. It always translates onto the screen.
TVGuide.com: Who's funnier back at home, you or Courteney?
Arquette: Court's pretty funny. I mean, her sense of humor is great. We just went on vacation, and we were laughing the whole time!
For the scoop on more new shows, pick up the "2007 Preview" issue of TV Guide, now on newsstands.
Send your comments on this Q&A to firstname.lastname@example.org.